Here are three easy ways to protect yourself against ovarian cancer:
1. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Carrots and tomatoes are loaded with the cancer-fighting antioxidants carotene and lycopene, and eating them regularly may help reduce your risk of ovarian cancer by up to 50 percent. That was the conclusion of a Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, study comparing 563 women who had ovarian cancer with 523 who didn't.
Researchers suggest aiming for two half-cup servings of tomato sauce (the most concentrated lycopene source) or other tomato products and five raw carrots weekly. Other antioxidant-rich foods linked in the research to a lower ovarian-cancer risk are spinach, yams, cantaloupe, corn, broccoli and oranges. Additionally, recent research from the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that kaempferol, an antioxidant in broccoli, kale, strawberries and grapefruit, may reduce ovarian cancer risk by as much as 40 percent.
2. Peel yourself off the couch. Women who spend six hours a day or more sitting during leisure time may be up to 50 percent more likely to develop the disease than those who are more active, reports a National Cancer Institute study.
3. Consider popping the pill. Some research suggests that the hormone progestin, found in many oral contraceptives, may slash risk by up to 50 percent when taken for five years or longer.
Adapted from the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.org)